My wife and I booked Chapungu as part of a safari tour with South African Airways Vacations. From the giraffes we saw on our initial drive in, we knew that this was going to be a special trip.
The lodge itself is small, with couches and dining tables out in the open. A small rock pool inhabits the space between the lodge and the bar, which contains another dining area and a well-stocked liquor and beer cabinet at reasonable prices. There are eight tents, I believe, and ours was well-appointed with all of the amenities of home. Nice touches included the outside bath, good air conditioning, comfy bed, voltage adaptor, and spacious layout.
We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights, with 2 game rides a day. Wake up is at 5, and coffee and biscuits are served before you hit the bush at a quarter to six. All of the Rovers are linked by radio, and there are spotters operating in the bush, so riders are nearly certain to see something. Our ranger and tracker seemed to space out what we saw on each given ride, which left us seeing something new virtually every trip. An added benefit of visiting a private game lodge is that the ranger is able to go off-road to track and approach the animals - as a result, we were able to get as safely close to the animals as possible and track them as they moved. All and all, we saw the big 5 in various different guises, as well as a myriad of other wildlife.
Evening game rides start at 4 p.m., and drinks are served at sunset. On the ride back to the lodge, the spotter breaks out a spotlight and you can see the animals in the bush -on our first ride, we saw three lionesses resting for the night.
The food is served communally, though since we shared the lodge with conventioneers, we had the run of the place for our stay. Other reviewers were less than positive about the food, but we found every meal to be very well-prepared and enjoyable. Breakfast is continental with eggs prepared to order, and lunch is served buffet style by the bar.
The service at Chapungu was simply magnificent. We were celebrating my birthday and our first anniversary, and the lodge was kind enough to prepare a private meal for us on our balcony for my birthday, and draw a bath and send champagne for our anniversary. The entire staff, from the maids to our butler to the ranger and tracker attended to our every want and need and sought to make sure that we had a truly unique and remarkable experience. We highly recommend Chapungu and encourage those looking for a luxurious yet reasonable safari experience to stay here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chapungu Tented Bush Camp sits at the heart of the Thornybush Private Game Reserve. With only 8 rooms, you are guaranteed peace and solitude, deep in the African bush, while still enjoying the comforts a luxury lodge offers. Tastefully furnished in old world colonial splendour, in a style and class of a bygone era, Chapungu offers guests private and exclusive accommodation in comfortable, air-conditioned en-suite safari tents . Dinners are usually enjoyed outside in the Boma where all tastes and preferences are catered for. Settle around a log fire to recount the days’ game experiences before retiring to the lounge for a night-cap, or the comfort of your tent. Morning and evening game drives in open safari vehicles with your ranger and tracker, ensure close and unrestricted encounters with the wildlife. Our passionate team will make sure that your experience in the African bush, is one to remember. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chapungu Camp Hotel Thornybush Private Game Reserve
- Chapungu Tented Bush Camp South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve